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Sportspace: is this democracy?

January 26, 2018 7:42 PM

I love Sportspace and postal vote letterThe Conservative Cabinet of Dacorum Borough Council is pushing ahead with a decision to dump its own leisure experts and ignore its own sports policy, without first developing a strategy for the future of Dacorum's Leisure facilities.

Many residents and local businesses are dismayed at this decision to dump a locally embedded Not for Profit Partnership prematurely, and yet opposing Councillors are either unable to criticise financial questions publicly because these details are part of "commercially sensitive" bid information, or had to investigate a skewed process buried in carefully-phrased presentation - no wonder enough backbench Councillors were persuaded by their leaders to loyally wave it through.

From start to finish the idea has been mishandled by a Cabinet which, until now, dominated its group of 45 out of 51 Councillors.

On wednesday 16 of them abstained or stayed away, leaving just 24 (less than half of the Council) to vote it through.

Is this Democracy?

The recorded vote reveals that a Cabinet of 6 Hemel Hempstead Councillors (3 from Boxmoor, 2 from Leverstock Green and 1 from Warners End) have gone ahead with a decision that OVER HALF OF DACORUM COUNCILLORS DID NOT SUPPORT.

The Cabinet has calculated that it is immune to protest and can simply work around criticism rather than openly explain and persuade the wider community. Clearly they see the management contract for Leisure Services only as a cash cow and not as a way to make Dacorum an outstanding borough through more pioneering developments like the XC in Jarman Park, which is currently making an international case for this town.

Councillors who supported their leadership will have to answer to the ballot-box in May 2019.

Councillor Adrian England
Hemel Hempstead Liberal Democrats